Your journey to the Islands of New Zealand kicks off in Queenstown (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). Jump right in travelling to the historic gold mining heritage of Arrowtown. Learn the town’s history when in 1862 thousands flocked to Arrowtown to strike it rich in gold mining. Stroll through town admiring the dozens of buildings from the gold rush era and more recently restored historic cottages, churches, and new boutiques and shops. Don’t miss the Chinese Settlement at the edge of the Arrow River made of restored shelters and buildings originally constructed in 1868. After this step back in time, journey back to Queenstown to take in its alpine, mountain town vibe. The the evening is free for you to enjoy one of its many lakefront restaurants and bars. Why not try some of the famous New Zealand lamb with a Pinot Noir from the local Otago wine region?
Get a feel for real New Zealand farm life with what awaits today. Begin the day with an immersive experience with your host, Southern Girl Laura. Born and raised on a sheep and deer farm in the deep south of New Zealand, you'll Connect with Locals as passionate Laura shares her story of her life growing up in the country before you have the chance to try your hand at sheep mustering, whip cracking, and the chance to feed and pet the sheep, horses, and goats. After this fun insight into the real New Zealand, you’ll leave feeling more like a local than a visitor and ready for a scenic afternoon. The next part of our farming adventure, it’s all aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw heading across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner, piled high with ribs and salad. After dinner at this historic homestead, learn about life on the farm with a shearing demonstration, watching the sheep dogs in action, and even trying your hand at wool spinning before the scenic cruise back to your Queenstown hotel.
Say ‘good morning’ to Queenstown with a full day of ways to play in this adventure capital. How about an Optional Experience of a thrilling, adrenalin-rush jet boat ride down the Shotover River or an excursion through Skipper's Canyon? If you’re looking for another type of adventure, consider a journey through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park for an unforgettable cruise on heritage listed national park Milford Sound past sheer cliffs, white-capped peaks, and waterfalls. This stunning landscape—shared by dolphins, penguins, and seals—showcases the beauty of New Zealand. Or tempt your taste buds on a wine tour of the Otago region renowned for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll visit and tour three premium boutique vineyards and enjoy a wine paired platter lunch. However you explore, there’s plenty of adventure to be had and shared with your travel mates after a full day.
With fond memories of your time in Queenstown and its surrounds, it's a change of scene today departing Queenstown and flying north to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails.’ As you fly in over the harbour, admire the city’s namesake sailboats and get excited for Auckland’s rich Maori history paired with its cosmopolitan vibe. Settle into your hotel in the heart of the city’s Federal Street—a hotspot for food lovers offering plenty of options. The evening is yours to enjoy in Federal Street or to head downtown for waterfront dining. You could even choose to dine in the towering Skytower for rotating, 360-degree views across the city.
Journey through King Country, which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. Join a Local Specialist in in a starry wonderland - a cavernous galaxy of twinkling glowworms, in shades of iridescent green and blue, lighting up the Ruakuri Caves in Waitomo. This evening, you'll Dive Into Culture at the Mitai Maori Village. Watch your Māori hosts issue their heart-pounding wero (challenge) during the Powhiri, a ceremonial welcome. Then, continue to the village to delve into what life was like in New Zealand before European settlement. Your encounter with Māori culture continues as you feast on succulent meats and vegetables cooked in a Hangi, sharing your Regional Dinner with our indigenous hosts.
It’s you’re final full day on your tour and it’s a big one. Begin in Rainbow Springs Nature Park to learn everything about the New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. Watch kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process, and newly hatched kiwi chicks. Your Local Specialist will tell you all about their kiwi bird breeding programme, 'Operation Nest Egg' and how your visit contributes to it. After a morning learning about the kiwi, you’re off to the Living Maori Village Whakarewarewa for more insights into the Māori people. Soak in this beautiful land of geothermal fields and steaming lakes that the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people have been living on since 1886. Take the trails and gain an appreciation of the Maori’s connection to this land. Then enjoy the Kapa Haka group’s performance of traditional songs and dances. You’ll cap off your day joining your Travel Director and companions for a Farewell Dinner at Terrace Kitchen on the lakefront. Enjoy this airy restaurant’s open plan kitchen to have a peek at the prep of dishes highlighting New Zealand cuisine featuring ingredients just picked from their onsite garden.
Savour your last morning of your New Zealand tour over a final delicious breakfast with your travel mates. Then bid farewell as you are transferred from Rotorua to the Auckland Airport for your onward flight (flights to depart after 2pm).